College can be an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful for many students. With academic pressure, social obligations, and personal responsibilities, it’s easy for students to let their mental health slide down their seemingly never-ending list of priorities. However, taking care of your mental health is vitally important — especially during your college years, when you’re figuring out who you are and what you want to do in life.
That being said, finding a therapist while in college can feel daunting. Rest assured, you have options. Here, we’ll discuss the importance of taking care of your mental health in college and how SonderMind can help you connect with a licensed therapist who fits your schedule, needs, and preferences.
Why mental health matters in college
There’s a lot going on during your college years — from living on your own for the first time to meeting new people and learning new things. While all of this can make for good times and great memories, college can also get overwhelming, and can sometimes lead to mental health concerns.
According to the American College Health Association, one in five college students has a diagnosable mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. These statistics highlight the importance of taking care of your mental health while in college.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help right away. Call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or find other suicide prevention resources here.
Help is out there for college students. Through treatments such as talk therapy, a therapist can help you manage your stress, anxiety, depression, and any other mental health issues you may be experiencing. Talk therapy can also provide you with coping skills, increase your self-awareness, and improve your relationships with others.
5 things to consider when searching for a therapist in college
Reaping the benefits of talk therapy in college starts with finding the right therapist for you. This can feel like just another task to add to an already long and overwhelming to-do list. You may not know where to start, what to look for, or how to pay for it. To help you get started and make sure you connect with a therapist who’s right for your needs, consider the following when searching for a therapist while in college:
1. Know why you want to seek therapy
Perhaps you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health concern such as anxiety or depression, maybe you’re just not feeling like yourself, or you just want some support as you deal with new changes or challenges in your life. Any reason is a valid reason to seek therapy. What’s important is that you have an idea of what’s driving you to seek therapy so you can connect with a therapist who can best support you in what you’re going through and what you’re hoping to achieve in therapy.
2. Consider a therapist’s area of expertise and specialties
A therapist's expertise and training allow them to develop deep knowledge and experience in specific areas, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, or relationship issues. Connecting with a therapist who has the skill sets and knowledge to meet your unique needs is key to ensuring you get the most out of therapy. So when you’re looking for a therapist, make sure you ask them about their areas of expertise, conditions they specialize in, and treatment approaches. You can ask these questions when you first reach out to them via phone call or email, so you can get an idea right away if they may be the right fit for you.
3. Think about your schedule and availability
College is a busy time. Between classes, homework, social obligations, activities, and more, fitting therapy into your schedule can seem like a tough task. The good news is a typical therapy session is only 30-60 minutes. Consider the days of the week and time of day you’d be available for therapy, so you can find a therapist who fits your schedule.
If you prefer to save time on travel, telehealth therapy sessions may be a convenient option for you. Here’s more on how telehealth therapy sessions may benefit you. If you’re looking for a therapist who offers online therapy, SonderMind can help. We can connect you with a therapist who offers appointments online or in-person, and who fits your schedule. Here’s how.
4. Know how you want to pay for therapy
If you’ve never been to therapy before, you may be wondering how much your therapy appointment will cost. This will depend on how you plan on paying for therapy and how often you see your therapist. You have options when it comes to paying for therapy — you can use your insurance or self-pay, or use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). You can learn more about ways to pay for therapy here.
It’s important to know how you’re going to pay for therapy when searching for a therapist, so you can ensure they accept your payment method. At SonderMind, our therapists are in-network with a variety of insurance plans in various states, and we also offer competitive self-pay rates if you don’t want to use insurance. Just let us know how you plan to pay for therapy along with other details about what you’re looking for in a therapist, and then we can connect you to someone who’s right for your needs.
5. Keep in mind other preferences
Beyond thinking about your schedule and how you’d like to pay for therapy, it’s also important to consider other preferences — such as if you prefer a certain age, gender, ethnic or racial background, language skills, or sexual orientation when looking for a therapist. It’s okay to be honest about what you want in a therapist to ensure they meet your needs and that you establish a strong relationship with them, which is key to seeing success in therapy.
How to find a therapist who’s right for you while in college
Now that you know what you want in a therapist, it’s time to make some connections with therapists who meet your preferences. You may be wondering where to begin — we’ve got you covered. Here are a few ways to find a therapist who meets your unique needs as a college student:
Get connected to a therapist with SonderMind
At SonderMind, we do the work for you when it comes to finding a therapist who’s right for you while in college. We get that it’s not always easy to know which therapist to go with — that’s why we first get to know your likes and preferences and the type of therapist you’re looking for. Then, we connect you with a therapist who fits your needs. We do all the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to choose from a provider directory.
What’s more? We’ll connect you with a therapist within 48 hours, so you don’t have to wait around to get started with therapy. Here’s more on how SonderMind connects you with a therapist who’s right for you. If you’re ready to connect with a SonderMind therapist, start here.
Contact your college’s counseling center
Many colleges have counseling centers for students to seek mental health support. Check out your college's counseling center website or contact them directly to see the types of services they offer. Be sure to ask about their therapist qualifications and experience, along with their availability. Some colleges may offer free counseling for a set number of sessions or semesters. If you need more sessions than that, they can refer you to off-campus mental health professionals.
Go through your insurance
Insurance providers often offer mental health coverage that includes access to a network of therapists. If you’re using insurance to pay for therapy, you can call the number on your health insurance member ID card for help finding a therapist who accepts your insurance and is in-network with your plan. You may also be able to search through an in-network therapist directory online via your health insurance member portal.
Talk to your primary care doctor
Your doctor can play a big role in helping you find the right therapist. Not only do they know your medical history, but they also have extensive knowledge of the health care system and can provide valuable guidance and recommendations. Make an appointment with them to let them know how you’ve been feeling. They can assess your symptoms, diagnose any underlying conditions, and even determine the type of therapy that would be most beneficial for you. Doctors often have a network of trusted therapists and mental health professionals they can refer you to, and can consider your specific needs, preferences, and insurance coverage when providing you with therapist options.
Remember, you’re not alone
Whether your campus is big or small, college can feel lonely at times, especially if you’re dealing with a mental health concern. Know that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Help is available, and therapy can make a world of a difference in helping you feel better. If you’re looking to find a therapist in college, SonderMind is here for you. Let us know a little more about what you’re looking for in a therapist, and we’ll connect you with someone who meets your needs within 48 hours.
Keep in mind all the other support that surrounds you, too — lean on your friends and family to talk to when you need a listening ear. Take part in your favorite activities when you need an outlet. Take a break if you need it. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so if you need to miss a class to protect your mental well-being, your professors will understand. Your whole health should always be a priority, and getting help and putting your mental well-being first is a brave choice.